Disney World Tips #4 – Dining
Believe it or not some people do not book their Disney World trip Resort/Hotel reservations until they’re able to secure their dining reservations. Yup. You read that right. I know it’s crazy? Or is it? Well, if you’ve spent any amount of time reading the my blog, listening to my lives or researching Disney World you know how incredibly important it is to plan ahead for your Walt Disney World vacation…and I’m not just talking a couple of months ahead, I’m talking 6+ months ahead. Some folks have no idea just how popular some of these restaurants are. Yes, 180 days ahead of time, trust me this is important! If you’re staying in a Disney hotel, you can book all of your reservations for up to 10 days beginning exactly 180 days before the first day of your trip. You might have your heart set on dining at Cinderella’s Castle where you’ll be visited by various Disney Princesses throughout your meal. You might believe that you can absolutely not live for one second longer if you aren’t able to secure a reservation for your family at the Beast Castle during your upcoming vacation. (I have felt this way, and finally I scored a reservation 2 years ago, hands down, you want to go to dinner here.) There are so many absolutely wonderful restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort and I recommend that if you don’t find exactly what you were looking for, try something new! You might just be pleasantly surprised! Make sure to watch my video below, but here are a few tips I didn’t mention.
- Don’t pay for food you don’t want. One of my favorite Disney Dining tips is to be a squeaky wheel when you need to be. Disney is very good at customizing meals, and at counter-service restaurants, your customized meal might even save you some money! For example, if you’d rather have just the sandwich with no sides, the price will likely be lower. So if you’d rather not have the extra food that comes with the entree, let them know and expect a lower price.
- Save on dining costs by eating a big, late breakfast. If you’re looking to stretch your dollars or your dining credits if on the dining plan eat a big breakfast at one of the many table service restaurants offering a morning meal. Generally, breakfast is less expensive than other meals, and by starting your day off with a full stomach a little later, you may eliminate the need for lunch altogether. Another relaxed alternative is combining breakfast and lunch, and choosing a brunch option.
- Research the Disney Dining Plan to see if it meets your needs. There are deeply divided opinions regarding the value offered by Disney Dining Plans. Research it. Personally I think this is absolutely the way to go. If you always like to eat the most expensive foods, it may just save you money. Or the convenience of having much of your food paid for ahead of time may be more valuable to you than savings. For more advice, check out advice on pros and cons of the Disney Dining Plan.
- Book a character meal. If amassing character photos and autographs is a priority for your family, then be sure to book a character dining experience. You have to eat anyway, so again, this is a meal that does double duty. And instead of you waiting in long lines, the characters come to you. And don’t skip this option if you’re kid-free — lots of adults-only parties have an awesome time at character meals!
- If dealing with a food sensitivity or special diets, have it noted on the reservation and then mention again at the podium. Disney is one of the most accommodating resorts that I have experienced when it comes to special needs diets. If you have any food sensitivity ranging from allergies to sensitivities and beyond, let them know. Note it at the time of the reservation if you book by telephone, and mention it again at the time you check in.